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Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Versatile Boxer Is Fighting Poverty

pacquiao vs cotto
Manny Pacquiao, known as PacMan to his followers, is probably the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. Trained by the esteemed Freddie Roach, Pacquiao, 30, has won world titles in four weight divisions.

But Pacquiao’s interests extend far beyond the ring. In the Philippines, Pacquiao dabbles in acting and music (he has had two platinum albums) and even ran for a congressional seat in 2007. Pacquiao lost the election but said in an interview with The New York Times last month that he planned to run for office again.

In May, Pacquiao knocked off Ricky Hatton, the World Boxing Association welterweight champion, in the second round. He next fights against Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico, the World Boxing Organization welterweight champion, on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas. GREG BISHOP

Q. What made you decide to run again for political office?

A. I want to help the people who are suffering. I came from a family who lived in poverty in the Philippines, and a lot of people there are very poor.

Q. You turned pro at 16. How much did you make in your first fight?

A. The purse was like 1,000 pesos, or about $20. I was excited. Before, I dreamed about being a good fighter. I was not looking for money when I started.

Q. Why did you begin boxing?

A. I started boxing after I ran away from home, when I was 14 years old, because we were very poor. I was helping my parents to get money, helping them to buy food every day.

Q. What were some of your jobs?

A. I sold doughnuts on the street. I would buy the bread, the flour and sell them to make money.

Q. Do you follow mixed martial arts?

A. I don’t watch it. It’s very different from boxing.

Q. We heard that the Philippines shuts down when you fight, that crime plummets and everybody watches. What is that like?

A. Every fight, millions of Filipinos are hoping for my victory.

Q. Bob Arum, the Top Rank boxing promoter, said you are the welfare system in the Philippines.

A. It’s hard. But that’s why I want to help them. I want to help the people there. And I have the ability to do that.

Q. Which boxers inspired you?

A. Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones Jr. I watched Oscar De La Hoya fight in the Olympics. He won the gold medal there. And I thought, I could do that.

Source: nytimes.com

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